If you have a frog lover (or nature lover), you have to get to Hemlock Crossings!
Located just north of Holland, today we visited the "wetland" area where we were able to see dozens of frogs right from the boardwalk.
It is a paved trail and a short walk from the parking lot and visitor center, so easy access if you have strollers. The frogs should be around for a litle bit, but I was advised that on cooler days they are not quite as active.
Check out how loud there were on the video on our Instagram / page!
Another reason we love visiting Hemlock crossings is the trails, with the bridge always being a kid favorite.
Although, once past the bridge, and most of the other trails are not so stroller friendly.
The other bonus of Hemlock Crossings is the visitor center. There is a room where you can view and listen to birds and squirrels (although the feeders are down until August: although they had a great book on the table there that lets you listen to tons of birds!),
but in that room there are some great interactive and educational displays for kids.
There is also a space near the gift shop where kids can hide out in a tent and there are lots of great books to read.
The Hemlock Crossings is always on our rotation of free and fun things to do with the kids, as you can really go there during any kind of weather.
Learn more at their website, and make sure to note the hours for the visitor center :
Tuesday - Saturday: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Sunday: 12:00pm - 5:00pm
Hemlock Crossings Address: 8115 West Olive Road . West Olive, MI 49460
The free Playland opened at Central Wesleyan Church this past Friday, and we were so excited to go check it out!
(Their winter hours: Monday 9-5, Tue & Wed 11-5, Thurs 9-11am, Fri 11-8, Sat 11-4, Closed Sunday)
Their website (hollandplayland.org) said to enter at door "D"
and then we just followed the signs, up the stairs, to the entrance.
If you haven't been there before, someone will take your names and your phone number. Then, and each time after that, you will enter your phone number on the touch screens to sign in. Wristbands print off for the kids to wear, and there is a name tag for the adult. When you leave, you throw your wristbands and name tag in a bucket so they know to sign you out.
The main structure is pretty large! Our girls are 3 and 4, and get a little intimidated by the big kids (especially if there are bigger boys who tend to be a little more "intense", ha!) and they aren't huge climbers, so they were a little too nervous to spend more than 10 seconds on the main structure. But a sign on the larger play structure said it was "designed for children 2 thru 12 years". And while I saw a couple toddlers on the main play structure as well, most of the kids were at least 3-5, with kids looking even around 10 who were really enjoying it. I think it just depends on your kids! Most of the main structure seemed large enough, that if I had had the chance, I am sure I would have even enjoyed it! :)
On one side of the main play structure are a few picnic tables : our picture is looking at them from just outside because I didn't want to freak out the parents sitting there by taking their picture :) ,
and the other side has a smaller play structure.
There is also one "family restroom" located near the smaller play structure.
Even though apparantly the small structure is for 6-months to 2 years old, my opinion would be that it would be tough for most kids under two to really enjoy it, unless they are good climbers. It isn't really geared torwards infants to enjoy for too long. Again though, that can depend on your kids and how big/adventurous they are :)
Just outside of Playland is a small coffee shop with a few basic food and beverage selections.
Overall, our girls seemed to enjoy it! We will definitely be making more trips here.
If you are looking for another indoor play area in Holland, don't forget that there is "The Park" at Engedi Church, and "The Jungle" at Christ Memorial Church that are also both free. Our overall favorite (and place we can easily spend the most time for the age our girls are) is still Meg's Playhouse! (and don't forget, MiT members get $1 off each child at Meg's Playhouse!)
We are so excited to add Tripelroot as a discount partner!
Moms in Tow members can now enjoy $2 off any food purchase!
They are super kid friendly : our girls love to play the games/ coloring books/ and other kids stuff they have. And we love the outside Biergarten in the summer. Defintely one of our favorite spots in town. Learn more about them at momsintow.com/discounts/tripelroot .
Looking for something a little different to entertain the kids? There are some great free weekly events that occur in the greater Holland area for families to enjoy!
Holland Street Peformers : Thursdays, 12- 8:30 , enjoy a variety of performances.
Sailboat Races : Head down to the Holland State Park every Wednsesday, starting at 6:45
Kids Activities at the Holland Farmers Market : Every Wednesday through August, a different activity each week after storytime (9:30-12)
Holland American Legion Band Summer Concerts : Tuesdays at 7:30 pm at Kollens Park in Holland.
Zeeland Soundz of Summer Concerts : Tuesday nights in July at 5:30.
Zee Bus : With a variety of stops all week long, the Zee Bus encourages children to excited about reading.
Zeelmania : Every Monday in July - August from 6-8, downtown Zeeland.
What is there to do during Tulip Time for families?
We came up with a quick list of some of the fun family-friendly activities to make sure to check out. (As much as we love it, you may want to save a visit to Nelis Dutch Village until after Tulip Time this summer to avoid the crowds!)
Saturday, May 7 - Sunday, May 15 (10-6) : Family Rest Area - A free place for families to relax downtown during Tulip Time! In the pocket park on 8th Street : free activities and snacks. Changing tables, nursing area, family restrooms and handwashing stations are also available.
Friday, May 6 - Sunday, May 15 : Carnival - Located at the Civic Center, rides and fun for all ages.
Saturday, May 7 (8am) : Tulip Time Run - Starting at Kollen Park, participate in the 5k/10k and the Kids 1k Fun Run!
Saturday, May 7 (2-4pm) : Vintage Baseball Game - Take in this wonderful (FREE) vintage game of baseball, at Riverview Park in Holland.
Saturday, May 7 - Sunday, May 8 (10-6) : Historic Dutch Trade Fair - On Windmill Island! Wind your way through the historic camp filled with colonial merchants and re-enactors.
Saturday, May 7 - Sunday, May 8 (11-6) : Kinderplaats - Kinderplaats is a place where children and their families can learn and play together, while becoming immersed in Dutch culture, history and heritage through activities, games and crafts.
Saturday, May 14 : Fireworks - Celebrate the last week of Tulip Time with a bang, at Kollen Park!
also check out the full schedule for:
Dutch Dance (and Kinder) Performances
or the Parades
If you are looking for tulip beds for pictures, check out the Festival Map for some recommended options!
by Raechel Haller, Massage Sci LLC (Mommy Massage Club)
I make it a habit to always ask my massage clients who come in with sore muscles what they do during the day. Their jobs or hobbies can shed helpful light onto why they may be experiencing certain aches and pains.
A response I’ve heard countless times is: “Oh, I’m just a stay at home mom.” To which I reply, “Moms are never ‘just’ moms.”
Moms often perform stressful and complex repeat muscle movements on a daily basis. And that can really take a toll over time. Below is a few common scenarios of how moms can strain their muscles, and at the end some easy care tips.
ONE, TWO, BUCKLE MY SHOE
Have you ever sat at the kiddy table for a long coloring session only to find when you stood back up you were greeted with a killer charlie horse?
Playing with or helping little tykes often involves getting down at their level. This involves asking some of our long muscles to remain in a shortened position for the duration. And when we’re in that position often enough, muscles may actually adapt and shorten further, reducing the range and functionality you may have been used to.
THREE, FOUR, OPEN THE DOOR
Have you ever found yourself carrying a heavy diaper bag, kid on the opposite hip, free arm opening the front door, and a foot shooing the dog back inside?
Through a wide variety of scenarios, moms are often balancing weight with athletic precision. This involves using our large “power” muscles in the legs and hips to lift, while also engaging smaller stabilizing muscles to keep it all together. If the balance act comes tumbling down, we can easily strain or injure ourselves. And even when busy moms manage to keep everything juggled, repeating such feats day in and day out is straining and requires care to prevent long-term harm.
FIVE, SIX PICK UP STICKS
Have you picked up the same dozen toys more times than you can count, and one day you experienced that proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back?
Very often when we “throw our backs out,” there’s no singular event, but rather a gradual lead up from repeat actions. Our muscles offer a variety of options when it comes to complex movements like bending down, which is wonderful, but with so many options, we also have “bad” options too choose from as well.
SEVEN, EIGHT, LAY THEM STRAIGHT
So what to do? Busy moms are busy. But still, they need to take time for themselves. Take time to care for your body that in turn does so much to care for your family. Here’s a few simple tips:
- Long Hot Bath/Shower. Changes are you might already know this one, but here’s why heat can simply do wonders for muscles. It’s soothing, but more so, it dilates the blood vessels. To use a simple metaphor, heat turns what would normally be a two lane road, into a four lane highway. More blood flow means more nutrients and oxygen in, and more metabolic wastes out. An electric heating pad or microwaveable beanie also works great.
- Change Up the Movement. If you find yourself repeating the same movements, try to be intentional about doing some opposite, or different ones. Teach your body to be flexible, to be prepared to do many different types of moment well. Do you do a lot of cardio from running after twin toddlers all day? Mix it up with a slower, more controlled movement like yoga. Do you find yourself lifting weight often? Mix it up with some flexibility and elongation movements like in pilates.
- Expand Your Toolkit. Sometimes we can’t just stop the world for a long hot bath, or attend a yoga class. For the days when you just need to get through and your muscles ache, have a few things on standby to help. Products that contain menthol are affordable and easy to get at the local drug store. Menthol provides a “distraction” by sending cold signals to the brain, this can override pain signals. Capsaicin, found in many “hot” brands, works similarly, but sends a hot signal instead of cold. Foam rollers, theracanes, and tennis balls are another handy tools one can use to work out a tense muscle area.
- Make Time to Relax. Sometimes all we need is some rest and relaxation. Scheduling a massage, practicing mindful meditation, or simply curling up with tea and a book can do the mind and body a lot of good.
- - -
Raechel Haller is a Licensed Massage Therapist and owner of Massage Sci LLC, which specializes in effective therapeutic massage. To learn more, visit http://www.massagesci.com.
Moms in Tow Members get 20% off all single pregnancy massage treatments.
What is it?
HarvestBox was started by Byron Center Meats to create a better way to eat meat. They wanted a better way to connect families directly with family-owned farms, thoughtfully raised and healthy meats, with convenient delivery. Byron Center Meats has over 70 years of meat processing experience.
Meats (beef, pork, salmon, and chicken) are packaged and shipped directly to you.The meats are free from antibiotics, growth hormones, steroids, and animal byproducts and has been fed and raised naturally and humanely. Products are cut by hand, vacuum sealed and flash frozen.
How it works
You can choose a sampler package if you want to try it or are just looking for smaller quantities, or choose from the larger bundle packages. They ship every Monday, with the meat in heavy duty insulated coolers with dry ice. No signature is required, so the driver will leave the box at an exterior door. An important thing to note is that shipping cost is included in the price you see while shopping. But, if you are local, you can choose to pick up your package in Byron Center, and you will receive a gift certificate to Byron Center Meats.
We received the Grill Meister Sample (2 delmonico steaks, 2 chicken breasts, 3 ground beef patties, and 12 oz. smoked bacon) I came home to find the box, sitting by our front door.
When you open the outer box, you will see the insulated cooler.
Inside the insulated cooler is the dry ice on top of your box of packaged meats.
The meats are mostly packaged individually, but also could be coupled together. Our steaks and chicken were each individually, with the 3 beef patties in one package, and the bacon in another.
They were all still frozen rock solid. Since they were already pre-packaged, all I had to do was throw them in my freezer (and not separate them myself like I usually do from the store). Easy!
There was also a variety of information about thawing the meats, internal cooking temperatures, and information about the farm where the meat came from.
We aren’t huge meat connoisseurs, but I had no complaints about the quality of the meat. No excess fat, they all thawed out great, and cooked up well!
The HarvestBox website also has a variety of recipies. We tried the “Gourmet Chicken Breasts” and it was fantastic.
I really appreciated the ease of this service!
As a mom, having a package with a variety meats delivered right to my door saved me so much time at the store. The idea of being able to shop for high-quality meat from home is priceless. A huge component of our main meal as a family could be made with so much less effort! Also knowing that the meat is healthier than most options in the store makes you feel better about what you are feeding your family.
My only (very minor) complaint was that I would have preferred the patties to not be bundled in 3 (we only needed 2 since our daughter eats 2 bites of burgers - so used the left over for spaghetti the next day). Depending on your family size, this might not even be a minor thing at all.
This isn’t low grade meat, so it is not the cheapest : but if you value healthier, quality meat, then this option is definitely worth it and the delivery and convenient packaging is a bonus! According to their website though "when comparing price per pound, HarvestBox meat bundles cost up to 40% less than our competitors and offer more servings per bundle."
++HarvestBox is holding a sale until the end of March : 10% off their bundles!
We are required to acknowledge that Moms in Tow received a sample package from HarvestBox at no cost to provide a review for this product. However, we promise to still reflect our honest opinion in this review!
We are kicking off the Love Everyone campaign!
Follow our Facebook event page as we challenge families to complete 10 random acts of kindess in the next few weeks, in their local communities!
We recently hosted a one month personal challenge group for local moms.
And it was awesome!
I loved seeing the pictures and stories of all those mamas loving on themselves and challenging themselves in different ways.
The original list was a bit more detailed, but here is the list of challenges in case you wanted to particiapte yourself!
Last year, we started giving $5 of each membership to local non profits.
It was amazing : We were able to give away almost $1,000 to 3 different local non profits.
So we are continuing this year! We have choosen two organizations to support and donate to in 2016:
So a big thank you to all of our members and partners : you are helping us support our local community - which means the world to us.